In 2020, Ooligan Press updated our mission statement to put a focus on publishing “local, marginalized voices in order to make literature accessible and redefine who has a place within its pages.” Along with promising to acquire more manuscripts by underrepresented authors, Ooligan added a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Publisher’s Assistant as a management position. This position is very new, and as such, I am the second person to hold this position.
When I started out in the book publishing program and Ooligan Press, in addition to pursuing editorial work, I knew I wanted to advocate for LGBTQ+ authors, publishing professionals, and stories within the publishing industry. Working as the DEI Publisher’s Assistant for the next year gives me the opportunity to do just that, as well as work with and advocate for other underrepresented groups in publishing.
What Does the DEI PA Do, Anyway?
As the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Publisher’s Assistant, my job is to work within and outside of the press to make sure that Ooligan is diverse, equitable, and inclusive in our publishing process and that any of our manuscripts written by/about underrepresented people and communities are authentic to those people groups and their experiences. Outside of Ooligan, I work with organizations that are for underrepresented authors in the Pacific Northwest to put on our new How to: Publishing events.
How to: Publishing
So far, we have had two How to: Publishing presentations, but going forward, we will present three to four times a year, depending on our partnerships. This coming fall term we are presenting to Willamette Writers; during winter term, we work with the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC); and during spring term, we work with the YWCA of Greater Portland.
How to: Publishing is a crash course in submitting materials to publishers to pursue getting a book published, including query letters, proposal packages, pitches, and self-promotion. This knowledge is fairly difficult to obtain unless you have been published, have an agent, or have other connections within the industry. This information is gatekept, especially from underrepresented communities that may not have access to these resources or the means to pay for them. My predecessor created this program, and Ooligan believes that the tools to get published should be available to all and that publishing should be more accessible. Students in the press get the opportunity to present and work with authors in this workshop, which makes the experience more personable.
If you’re interested in our How to: Publishing workshop, more details are available on our Events page.
Since the DEI position within Ooligan is so new, there is still room for the position to develop and for all of the aspects to be refined. As the second DEI PA, I’m excited to have this role and to help it grow!
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